Teaching Practice Dialogue

mentoringThe Teaching Practice Dialogue programme offers a range of opportunities for you to:

  • reflect on your teaching practice and the learning of your students through discussion with others.
  • share and develop effective practice with students and colleagues, and network with students and colleagues from other departments and disciplines on specific areas of teaching and learning.

Each strand of the programme is designed to be entirely developmental, supportive and driven by the needs of the participants. Taking part can boost your confidence, aid reflection and help develop innovative teaching ideas. From an institutional perspective, the programme encourages an open and sharing culture to support the improvement of teaching practice.


Mentoring for Learning & Teaching

The Mentoring for Learning and Teaching Programme is centred around positive conversations with a neutral person (outside your department), that helps mentees to create a clear development plan, understand how to achieve what's expected of them in their role, and navigate their way through learning and teaching issues.

Who is it for?

It is open to any member of staff who is involved in learning and teaching, in its broadest sense.

What are the benefits?

Mentoring is beneficial for the professional development of both the mentor and the mentee. It improves communication, reflection and problem solving skills as well as increasing confidence and professional purpose on both sides as a result of the discussions.

What does it involve?

The programme begins with a compulsory induction and skills workshop. The workshop will explore the requirements of a 'successful' mentoring partnership and participants can decide if they wish to participate in the programme.

When do I commit?

After the introductory workshop, you will be asked to indicate whether you are interested in becoming a mentor, mentee or both. Mentors are staff who are trained in mentoring skills, and all participation is completely confidential.

What next?

Please see LMS to book onto the compulsory introductory workshop.

Book your place


Peer to Peer Teaching Observation Scheme

This scheme is designed to offer peer support in the professional development of teaching practice across departments through engaging with reciprocal teaching observations. The observations can be of any aspect of practice and will be followed up by developmental discussions where the observee has the opportunity to interpret and reflect on what was observed. These discussions can also serve as a springboard to a wider discussion around teaching and learning.Group discussion around a table

Who is it for?

The scheme is open to anyone who currently teaches at all levels of teaching experience, who is looking for new ways to enhance their practice.

What are the benefits?

Observing teaching has many benefits including learning new teaching strategies, developing motivation and confidence to try out new strategies and getting a different perspective on your teaching. Engaging in this scheme could also provide examples to support a LTPRS application for professional recognition.

What does it involve?

The scheme includes:

  • An introductory workshop exploring good practice for observers and observees, with discussion on how to get the most out of the peer observation experience
  • Reciprocal observation of a teaching session, or part of a session, with a peer from a different department (availability allowing)
  • A debrief session after each observation to discuss and reflect on what was observed

What happens in the observation?

Both teachers agree on the duration of the observation in advance and the person being observed chooses the focus. Resources to support and structure the observation process and debrief will be made available at the workshop.

What happens at the debrief?

The debrief is an opportunity to discuss what the observer has seen in the teaching session. Feedback is confidential between the two teachers and is focused on reflection and development.

When do I commit?

You do not have to commit to participation immediately.

  1. Before committing to the scheme, all prospective participants should attend the introductory workshop.
  2. If you chose to enrol, you will then fill out a form outlining your preferences for an observation partner.
  3. The scheme co-ordinator then uses this information to match you with a teacher from a different department for the reciprocal observation.
  4. You then have a week's cooling off period before you commit to the scheme.
How is information from the scheme used?

It is up to the participants how they choose to use their feedback and reflections from the scheme, but this information will not be shared with departments or with the scheme coordinator.

What next?

Please see LMS to book onto the compulsory introductory workshop.

Book your place


Student Observation of Teaching

Student Observation of Teaching is an opportunity for students to collaborate with academics to develop their teaching. The student observer acts as a "critical friend" to the academic, offering feedback on their practice, and a fresh perspective on how they work with students. This might be done by the student joining some of your teaching as an observer; them leading a focus group of students; or talking with you about questions or challenges you face in your teaching.

Who is it for?

This is for students and staff who are interested in having a conversation about learning and teaching outside of their programmes and departments. On the student side, it can be for anyone at any level, including postgraduate research students; and on the staff side, so long as you do something that you consider to be supporting learning, you are eligible to take part. It is a joint project between Elevate, 301, and Tim Herrick in the School of Education.

What are the benefits?

Participation helps you think about your learning and teaching practices in new ways. By having a structured conversation about what you do and why you do it, and gaining an external perspective on this, you are likely to understand yourself better, and empower yourself to make different choices in future. Previous participants, both students and staff, have described it as "exciting", "fantastic", and "one of the best experiences at the University of Sheffield", and the feedback you generate through participation can help with job or promotion applications and other forms of personal and professional development.

What does it involve?

Student and staff volunteers are put in pairs or small groups to have a structured discussion of learning and teaching. They select some aspects of their teaching or learning practice that they want to explore further, and work with each other to deepen their understanding - by, for instance, discussing online learning materials, sitting in on taught sessions, or reviewing approaches to feedback. The precise form it takes is up to you, and should follow your interests and aspirations.

When do I commit?

The scheme runs in two separate instances in the two taught semesters. You can be involved with either or both, and can retain the relationship with your partner or small group for as long as you wish.

How is information from the scheme used?

All conversations within the scheme remain confidential to participants. However, if there are points that you would like to share within your department or with other people, so long as everyone participating gives their consent, that’s fine. The scheme organisers also run an ongoing research project, and you will have the option to contribute some of your reflections and experiences to that.

What next?

More information, including links to an application form, is available through a briefing note. Any questions can be directed to the Elevate Team.